Tuesday 19 December 2017


GenresPunk / Hardcore / Powerviolence / Thrash / Crust
Related artistsSeesaw, Long Gone, SledgeHC, Redbloodhands, Angelica Mariner and La Crisi.
CountryMilan ITALY
Years Active2012-present
Song: "Vexed"
Album: "Coarse"
Year: 2017
For fans ofDangers!, The Armed, Warsaw Was RawUnsanitary NapkinYurodivy, Ghostlimb, (Lone) Wolf And Cub, Aureole Of Ash, Parents, Machina Genova, The Love And Terror Cult, The Power And The Glory, Joliette, Left Astray, Remains Of The DayAmerican Nightmare, Converge, Jungbluth, Glasses, No Statik, Punch and Worst Days.
Label(s): Self Released / Shove Records / Adagio830 / Per Koro / Sonatine Produzioni
This post's artist is from the December 2017 Mix. This is track #1.
You can download: the December 2017 Mix#12 right here or get the new January 2018 Mix#1 here.

I'm doing the second consecutive Shove Records review as, plain and simple, that label from Italy is unreal. Every time I trade with Manuel I get to discover a ton of amazing Italian bands that I would otherwise likely have passed over and never heard. Amidst the pile of awesomeness that I received included a band called COUNCIL OF RATS, of which I picked up a few copies of their 2017 endeavour 'Coarse'. I literally heard the chorus of opening track "Vexed" and shit my pants. Jesus fuck this record (and band) are insane. If you were to attempt to conjure up and describe COUNCIL OF RATS, describing them as punk meets hardcore with strong ties to Dangers! material would be a pretty good bet. That punk/hardcore focus is paired ferocious vocals that are screamy enough to break into further sub-genres, if you were to so choose.

Releasing first in 2013 with their self titled EP 'Council of Rats', the six tracks aren't too far off from what they have evolved into now, almost five years later. It's violent, venomous and punk as fuck, with the songs being more direct and perhaps a tad less engaging. Nonetheless it's a very good debut, with my favourite tracks being "Divinations", "The Lighthouse" and "Tomie".

Only a year later, in 2014, the Italian band released a full length titled 'Ill Weaters' on 12" via the German powerhouse Adagio830. This thing contains 10 songs, is more developed and focused than the debut and therefore bears more resemblance to their new material, albeit being even heavier. Maybe it's the increased amount of concentrated poison that the vocals are laced with or perhaps it's the fuller, thicker and heavier sound that the instrumentals have taken. Let's be honest, David, it's both, and it's glorious. "Strategies of Tension" and "Old Crow" are truly venomous, "Burning Love" sounds pretty goddamn evil, "Fraudulent Crafts" blazes through in 1:37 while "Jawbones" is a second away from four minutes of crushing, crusty post-hardcore. "Towards Disaster" is nearly danceable and "Scales" is just fucking epic, as well as not too far removed from screamo, I might add.

Releasing yet again the following year, COUNCIL OF RATS dropped the short, two-track EP titled 'Binded'. Opener "Impressions" is 1:23 of furious hardcore and contains screams from another band member, while "Shadowplay" is 2:03 and boasts a lot bass. It seems the vocals on the recording are less intense, whether it be due to the recording/mixing or the vocalist I am unsure, but they still pack a punch.

This brings us to the exceptional 2017 full length 'Coarse', which was the catalyst for this review. So, it begins with "Vexed". This is without a doubt the most influential song (for me) that I heard in all of 2017. Those fucking vocals are so good it's ridiculous. A quick side note, the band I just recorded vocals for (Swallow's Nest) is contributing a song to a split 7" with Chicago's Crowning and my screaming is 100% influenced by this song, and those long, held, deep screams in particular. The opener beings with subdued guitars and snarling screams, but intensity in the vocals from 20-30 seconds floor me. The song then shifts to some shouted/spoken word and what may or may not be considered a breakdown interlude before reverting back to the opening at 45 seconds and that absolutely devastating chorus that is saturated with the best fucking screams, godfuckingdammit. Next up is "Flaws" which uses a movie clip as an intro from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and then rips into the listener Dangers! style. The stop/start at 1:06 as the song resets itself and erupts again is unreal, and the yelled/spoken word section is sick. "Against All Odds" seems relatively typical until 2:14 when the instrumentals get more epic than they've ever been, and those vocals, well, you know, soooooo gooooood. "Ten of Swords" is another sensational track and my second fave, as the vocalist shrieks "What have you done?" with a call and response from the backup vocalist repeating, "What have you done?". Songs "The Static", "Carcrasher", "Degrader" and "Carcrasher" are your typical, awesome COUNCIL OF RATS styled hardcore, although "Latelovers/Deadlovers" delves into some new territory (especially the playful guitar solo). "The Burden" and "Lower Nature" are quite heavy but closer "The Bowery Chamber" is a behemoth, weighing in at five-plus minutes of slow, dark and eerie post-hardcore/post-metal.

I don't know what 2018 to 2020 will bring for COUNCIL OF RATS, but anything coming my way automatically gets put in the "likely to be in my year end list" cuz this band fucking rules.



2013 - Council of Rats cdEP (stream/donate/download here)

2014 - Ill Weathers 12"LP (stream/donate/download here)

2015 - Binded digitalEP (stream/donate/download here)

2017 - Coarse 12"LP (stream/buy here)


(2017) COUNCIL OF RATS - "Vexed" (from 'Coarse')

(2017) COUNCIL OF RATS - "Ten of Swords" (from 'Coarse')

(2017) COUNCIL OF RATS - "Flaws" (from 'Coarse')

(2015) COUNCIL OF RATS - "Shadowplay" (from 'Binded')

(2014) COUNCIL OF RATS - "Scales" (from 'Weathered Ill')

(2014) COUNCIL OF RATS - "Towards Disaster" (from 'Weathered Ill')

(2014) COUNCIL OF RATS - "Burning Love" (from 'Weathered Ill')

(2013) COUNCIL OF RATS - "The Lighthouse" (from 'Council of Rats')


COUNCIL OF RATS additional links


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